Charleston, S.C. – Mariana Garcia posted her third two-goal performance of the season en route to breaking The Citadel's all-time career goals mark with 29 but Chattanooga's two second half goals were enough to edge out The Citadel 3-2 on Sunday.
The Citadel (4-10-1, 2-5-1) peppered Moc's goalkeeper Lauren Thomas with 36 shots, 20 on goal, but were only able to find the back of the net twice as the keeper stymied the Bulldog attack to record 18 saves.
Garcia notched the game's first score in the 17th minute when she found a deflected shot on goal by Vanessa Aponte and drove it into the back of the net to give the Bulldogs a quick 1-0 lead. The score moved Garcia into a tie for most career goals in program history with 28, a mark that Kelly Pesterfield set in 2003.
UTC's Kelsey Swann evened the score just before the half when she gathered a pass from Loryn Queen and drove the ball past Bulldog goalkeeper Sarah Katchen.
In an eventful 65th minute for the Mocs, the duo of Swann and Queen hooked up again when Queen dropped a pass into the box that Swann was able to drill into the back of the net from 15 yards out to give her team a 2-1 lead.
Just 21 seconds later, Bulldog defender Karina Schneider committed a foul in the box to give UTC a penalty kick that Becca Smith directed into the net past Katchen to give the Mocs a 3-1 lead.
Garcia's 12th goal of the season and record-breaking 29th of her career came in the 84th minute when a pass off a direct kick by Aponte found the head of Garcia which she was able to put past Thomas to narrow the deficit to 3-2.
The Bulldogs came out on the attack in the final six minutes and were able to connect on three shots including a laser on goal off a breakaway by Jannel Johnson but Thomas snagged the shot and the Mocs closed out the game to move to 3-7-1 overall and record their first SoCon win of the season.
"We weren't playing up to our standards and we didn't finish our opportunities when we needed them today," said Johnson. "This was our game to win and we ended up losing. The other team wanted it more than us today."
Garcia led all shooters with nine shots including five on goal to give the Bogota, Colombia, native 95 for her career and moved her into sole possession of first place all time in the category. Johnson and Aponte each recorded eight shots on the day.
Aponte's two assists give her six on the season, a team- and season-best for the Bulldogs. The junior captain, who broke Nicole Martinoli's career assist record earlier this season, now has 14 through three seasons.
The Citadel will make a final push at the SoCon Tournament as it hits the road for its final three games of the season to take on Appalachian State on Friday, Oct. 19 before trekking to Western Carolina on Sunday, Oct. 21. The Citadel will close out the season on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at Patriots Point where the Bulldogs will battle crosstown foe College of Charleston.
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